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A service from the Generalate addressed to the salesian university institutions.

Prot. N. 2080/97

To the V. Rev. Provincials,
Provincial Councillors,
and all the confreres of Salesian University Institutions.

Dear Confreres,

In my recent circular Letter "For you I study" on our cultural preparation and on the quality of our work (cf. AGC 361), I drew your attention to a significant field of our mission, which is of particular importance in the formation of persons and in the elaboration and spreading of culture: the salesian university institutions , which are increasing in number and in quality.

This is a field to which the Church too looks with hope, in the context of the new evangelization, because of the influence such institutions can have in the formulation of a cultural project inspired by the Gospel, capable of creating new relationships in society and in the world, and of enlightening people in their search for truth and for sense in life. The importance of educative and scholastic institutions, and in particular those at university level, was reflected also in the recent Synod of Bishops for America.

Now, on the basis of the verification made on the occasion of the GC24 and of the publication of the above-mentioned Letter, to draw attention to the growing number of our university institutions but also to their diversification (cf. AGC 361, p.44), and to the needs and expectations expressed by those responsible at various meetings and occasions (in particular may be recalled the conclusions reached at Brazilia in 1995), I have judged it opportune in agreement with my Council to promote , for a limited period of time, a service from the Generalate addressed to the salesian university institutions (with the obvious exclusion of the UPS which comes under the direct responsibility of the Rector Major as its Grand Chancellor).

This service, in line with the great effort at cultural qualification asked of the Congregation at the present day, is a sign of particular commitment in this area of special influence for our mission.

The service will aim at seeking the common general conditions - in respect of the norms of individual countries - which will ensure, whether in the individual institutions or as a group, "a significant salesian presence at a scientific, educative and pastoral level" among the centres which "produce and diffuse culture" in society (cf. Letter For you I study ).

I have entrusted the task of guiding and animating this service for the Salesian University Institutions (SUI) to our confrere Fr Carlos Garulo , whom I thank for the availability he has shown.

As I have said, this is a task of limited duration until the achievement of the objectives proposed. The person concerned will respond to the Rector Major for his work, and will have as points of reference and collaborators the Councillors General for Formation and for Youth Pastoral Work. He will normally be dealing with the Provincials responsible for the salesian university institutions existing in their provinces and the academic authorities of the institutions themselves.

The objective and scope of the service in the first instance will be the survey of the situation of the SUI (facts, analysis and conclusions); and this so as to:

  • define, on the part of the Rector Major and his Council:
    • a general policy of the Congregation in this field;
    • an authoritative line which will help the EPCs of the individual university institutions to define their own cultural, educative and pastoral project (cf. Letter, AGC 361, p.46);
  • foresee and begin a plan of collaboration and synergy among the SUI;
  • orientate and accompany the Provinces responsible for the SUI.
Dear confreres, I hope that through the contribution of this service we may be able to give ever greater help to our university institutions in the making of the necessary verifications, and especially in attaining that salesian competence and cultural and professional quality, of which I spoke in my circular letter (cf. AGC 361, p.46).

Let us place our work under the protection of Mary Help of Christians, asking through her intercession for the wisdom which is the gift of the Spirit.

Rome, 8 December 1997
Fr Juan E. Vecchi


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